Zimbra Desktop 2 FAQ
What is Zimbra Desktop?
- Zimbra Desktop is a free and open source email software application. It's cross-platform, available on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Zimbra Desktop can work with many types of servers to synchronize email, contacts and calendar data between user's mailboxes in the cloud and local data stored on your computer disk. While synchronization requires network connectivity, Zimbra Desktop can be used when the user's computer is not connected to the network.
Why should I use Zimbra Desktop instead of other email software?
- While similar to competing products like Outlook and Thunderbird, Zimbra Desktop offers users many advantages not found elsewhere. See here for a high level feature comparison.
Is Zimbra Desktop really free?
- Yes. Zimbra Desktop is open source and free. We make both the software code and the application itself available to anyone at no charge. Please see here for license information.
Does Zimbra Desktop contain any spyware?
- Absolutely not. In fact 100% of the Zimbra Desktop code is open source so everything the software does is open to the public.
What types of accounts are supported by Zimbra Desktop?
- To date, Zimbra Desktop supports the following account types:
- Zimbra Collaboration Suites
- Yahoo! Mail
- Microsoft Exchange (IMAP access only)
- Other email services with POP3 or IMAP4 access
What is a Zimbra account?
- A Zimbra account is hosted by a server running the Zimbra Collaboration Suites (ZCS) software. In order to use Zimbra Desktop with your Zimbra account, your service provider or your employer must be running ZCS 5.0 or later.
Do I need a Zimbra account in order to use Zimbra Desktop?
- Not at all. You can use Zimbra Desktop with any types of accounts we support.
Can I setup multiple accounts of the same or different types in one installation?
- Yes. You can setup as many or as few accounts as you need. For example, you can setup two Gmail accounts of different usernames or domains, one Yahoo! Mail account, and one IMAP account for your company's IMAP server.
Is Zimbra Desktop available in my language?
- While the latest beta release of Zimbra Desktop 2.0 doesn't yet come with fully localized installer and account setup, it will offer same languange packages as Zimbra Desktop 1.0.
How do I get help with using the software?
- First, we recommend that you read this FAQ. Secondly, the Zimbra Desktop Release Notes has a lot of information about the latest release. Finally, you can get help on the Zimbra Desktop forum. When posting to the forum, please always include:
- the version number and build number. (Find this in the envelope icon, About Zimbra Desktop section. The icon displays in the Windows Tray or in the Mac Dock row)
- what platform (Windows, Mac, Linux)
- what mail service (Zimbra Collaboration Suites, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, etc)
I found a bug. How do I report it?
- Go to Zimbra Bugzilla to file a bug. It will greatly help Zimbra engineers to investigate your issue if you include as much information as possible, including how one might be able to reproduce what you see. Sometimes screenshots can help. Please always tell us:
- the version number and build number
- what platform
- what mail service (Zimbra Collaboration Suites, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, etc)
- If this is your first time, you will need to register an account. By doing this you will be notified on every update to the bug you file.
I have this brilliant idea to make Zimbra Desktop 10 times better. How do I get it into the product?
- Go to Zimbra Bugzilla to file a Request For Feature (RFE). Select "enhancement" as Severity. We always love to hear cool ideas.
Download and Install
What are the prerequisites of installing and running Zimbra Desktop?
- Before you start, you should check out the Zimbra Desktop Release Notes where you can read about the latest release and known issues.
Where do I download the installer?
- Go here to download the installer for your platform.
What platforms do Zimbra Desktop support?
- Zimbra Desktop can run on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X Leopard (Intel), Mac OS X Snow Leopard, and a variety of Linux (i686) flavors including Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Suse, etc.
Yes. Zimbra Desktop 2.0 now supports multi-user systems and "quick user switch". Each user's data are completely isolated from one another.
Where is the install location?
- While you can choose to install to any folder on your computer, the default install paths on the respective platforms are as follows:
- Windows XP, Vista and 7 (32bit) - C:\Program Files\Zimbra\Zimbra Desktop
- Windows Vista and 7 (64bit) - C:\Program Files (x86)\Zimbra\Zimbra Desktop
- Mac OS Leopard and Snow Leopard - /Applications/Zimbra Desktop
- Linux - /opt/zimbra/zdesktop
- In the rest of this FAQ we will refer to the install location as <install>.
- On Linux, the default install location /opt/zimbra/zdesktop often requires root permission. If that is the case, please run Linux installer as root. Answer "No" when is asked to "continue to install data files for user: root". Login as regular user to complete the second part of the installation.
Where is the user data location?
- Each user's data is under her standard data location on the respective platforms are as follows:
- Windows XP - C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Zimbra\Zimbra Desktop
- Windows Vista and 7 - C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Zimbra\Zimbra Desktop
- Mac OS Leopard and Snow Leopard - /Users/<username>/Library/Zimbra Desktop
- Linux - <home>/zdesktop
- where <username> is the username of the user and <home> is the home directory of the user. In the rest of this FAQ we will refer to the user data location as .
I have Zimbra Desktop 1.0 installed. Can I upgrade to Zimbra Desktop 2.0?
- Zimbra Desktop 2.0 can be installed on a computer running 1.0 as if it's a different application. It will leave your 1.0 software and data intact. However it is strongly recommended that you uninstall 1.0 first as running two applications in parallel will adversely affect performance.
How do I know which version/build I'm running?
- Run Zimbra Desktop.
- Windows: Zimbra Desktop has a tray icon in the system tray. Right click the tray icon and select "About Zimbra Desktop". The About dialog will show your version and build number. Please remember to always include your version and build number when reporting issues.
- Linux: Click on the "Gears" icon in the bottom left of the application window. Select "About Zimbra Desktop".
- Mac OS: Right click Zimbra Desktop's dock icon while it's running. Select "About Zimbra Desktop".
Running Zimbra Desktop
How do I run Zimbra Desktop?
- On Windows, select the Zimbra Desktop program from Start menu. On Mac the Zimbra Desktop program is under /Applications/Zimbra Desktop. On Linux simply double click the Zimbra Desktop icon on your Desktop.
How do I shutdown Zimbra Desktop?
- On Windows clicking the "x" on the upper right corner of the window only minimizes Zimbra Desktop to the system tray. To shutdown Zimbra Desktop, either select "Quit" from the application main window's system menu, or right click on the tray icon and select "Quit". On Mac and Linux, simply closing all the application windows will shutdown Zimbra Desktop.
Can I still receive new mail when Zimbra Desktop is not running?
- Yes. The graphic user interface of Zimbra Desktop is only the front-end of the software. There's also the back-end data engine running behind the scene. The back-end data engine is responsible for synchronizing data with various remote servers on a user-defined schedule. The Zimbra Desktop data engine continues running even after you quit the Zimbra Desktop GUI but at a lower sync frequency.
I don't use Zimbra Desktop very often and sometimes I want to free up more memory. How do I shutdown the Zimbra Desktop data engine?
- Windows: in the tray icon menu select "Shutdown Service"
- Mac: use the Dock icon menu.
- Linux: shutdown Zimbra Desktop using a terminal window by running the following commands (as the user):
cd ~/zdesktop/bin ; ./zdesktop stop
How do I start the Zimbra Desktop data engine after I stopped it?
- Simply launching Zimbra Desktop GUI will automatically start the data engine if it's not already running.
How much data is stored on a user's computer?
- Zimbra Desktop is designed to download all user data in the cloud to store on user's computer. This approach allows Zimbra Desktop users to access all their data when offline.
Where are the data stored?
- Actual data is stored as files under <data>/store, where each item is a single file. Metadata is stored in a SQLite database under <data>/sqlite. In addition, indexes on data are stored under <data>/index. These 3 folders contain all user data, and any direct modification to these data will result in corruption and possible data loss.
Can I backup the data in those 3 user data folders by simply copying them to another location?
- While that is possible, it is not recommended. If you choose to do file based backup, you must first shutdown the Zimbra Desktop data engine before running any types of backup. However we recommend users do backup using the import/export features provided by Zimbra Desktop instead. You will find this feature under your Preferences tab in the Zimbra Desktop UI.
Is my data stored on my computer secure?
- Currently Zimbra Desktop does not provide application level encryption. It is important that you choose a secure file system and not give others access to your computer.
Are all my data in Zimbra Desktop always in sync with my data in the cloud?
- That depends on the type of account, what you choose to synchronize, and how often Zimbra Desktop synchronizes with remote servers. For Zimbra accounts, virtually 100% of data is synchronized with the server, including user preferences. The only data not in sync are changes you made since the last synchronization. For Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Exchange IMAP and other IMAP mailboxes, user preferences are not synchronized with the server. For POP accounts, all data are stored locally only once they are downloaded. In addition, all data that live under Local Folders are stored locally only. We generally refer to the data that only exist locally in Zimbra Desktop as local data.
If my hard drive dies and I have no data backup, do I lose all my data?
- You will lose all your local data. Data still in your mailboxes in the cloud can be downloaded again once you setup a new Zimbra Desktop install. Therefore, it is important to backup your mailbox data periodically, especially your local data. It's also worth noting that when you choose to delete or reset a mailbox, all data including changes you made sync last sync will be deleted from your local computer but data under Local Folders will remain.
How often does Zimbra Desktop synchronize with remote servers?
- That depends on the sync schedule you choose for each of your accounts. Zimbra accounts supports the option to synchronize whenever your mailbox on the server has any new changes, which we refer to as "push". Zimbra Desktop currently doesn't support "push" for other types of accounts. You can also force an immediate sync of all accounts by clicking the "Send/Receive" button. If there are outgoing messages in your Outbox, sync will run immediately unless your sync schedule is set to "manual". With "manual" setting you must click the "Send/Receive" button to even send outgoing messages.
I read or deleted some messages using a different client. Why are those changes not reflected in Zimbra Desktop?
- For any non-Zimbra mailbox, auto sync will only download new messages. In order to synchronize other changes such as unread flag changes and deletions you have to click the "Send/Receive" button to do a manual synchronization.
Can I install Zimbra Desktop on multiple computers and make them synchronize with the same account?
- Absolutely. Just remember for non-Zimbra mailboxes you have to click "Send/Receive" in order to see changes you made from one install in other installs.
How do I uninstall Zimbra Desktop?
- On Windows you can also use "Add or Remove Programs" to uninstall. On Mac and Linux, shutdown the data engine and then remove everything under <install>. You can optionally also delete everything under <data> if you no longer need the user data.
What is the "All Mailboxes" section?
It's a virtual mailbox that shows an integrated view of all your physical mailboxes. The virtual Inbox under "All Mailboxes" shows messages from Inboxes in all of your physical mailboxes. Other virtual folders under "All Mailboxes" work the same way.
How do I tell to which mailbox a message belongs?
Each message has an account indicator, an icon that shows the type of account.
Can I use "All Mailboxes" the same way as I do a regular mailbox?
Yes, you can read, flag, move and delete messages in virtual folders just as you do to those in physical folders.
If I delete a message from a virtual folder, where does it go?
It's moved into the Trash folder of the same mailbox where the message is.
What account identity will it use when I reply or forward a message in a virtual folder?
By default it will use the identity to which the original message was sent. However you can always switch to a different identity in the composer. In fact you can even switch to an identity that belongs to a different physical mailbox.
I don't like seeing messages from different mailboxes together. Can I turn off "All Mailboxes"?
Yes. Go to Preferences and uncheck the option to "show the 'All Mailboxes' section with my other accounts".
Can I move or copy messages from one account to another?
What's the "Local Folders" section?
That's a separate mailbox that doesn't sync with any server account. A folder under "Local Folders" is a local folder. All items in a local folder exist on your computer only. You can move or copy items from any account to a local folder so that those items are save on your computer.
I can see all my accounts in Mail application, but why don't I see some of them in Address Book or Calendar applications?
An account is present in an application only if that account supports the data type. All accounts support mail data, and that's why you'll always see all accounts under Mail. However some accounts, like generic POP or IMAP, don't support address book and calendar data, and therefore they are not included in those applications.
Can I move a meeting from one account to another?
Yes. For example, if you have one Zimbra account and one Gmail account with calendar sync enabled, you can move a meeting in Google account to your Zimbra account. However by doing so you are deleting the meeting from your Google calendar and adding it to your Zimbra server mailbox.
When Things Go Wrong
My emails stopped coming in. What's wrong?
- It could be that synchronization with remote server encountered an error. Some errors are recoverable, like when the remote server is temporarily unavailable or your network connectivity is down. First look at the sync status indicator next to the account name in the folder tree. If you see a red square, you are having connectivity issue with the server which is typically temporary. When the indicator is a red circle with an exclamation point, an error has been encountered during sync. Click on the error indicator for more information.
What do I do when I'm blocked by an error?
- If your sync cycle always ends in error, you may have found a bug in the software. To help us debug the issue, first collect some debug information. In the mailbox search box on the top left (not the web search box on the right), type in "$set:debugtrace on" (without the quotes) and hit enter/return. You'll see a green popup saying debug trace is turned on. Then click the Send/Receive button (or in multi account case pull down to select to just sync that account) to manually force a sync and wait for the spinning indicator to turn into the red error indicator. Then open the log file located at <data>/log/zdesktop.log and find the trace section between
============================== SYNC DEBUG TRACE START ==============================
============================== SYNC DEBUG TRACE END ================================
- If you have multiple such sections, find the last trace section. Then post the issue to the Zimbra Desktop Forum with the trace. If the trace is too long, put it in a file and attach to the post. Alternatively you can also file a bug on Zimbra Bugzilla and attach the trace to the bug. If the trace contains information you do not wish to make public, mark the attachment private so that only Zimbra employees can access it.
I'm seeing some UI display issues. How do I correct that?
- It's often hard to tell between a UI display issue and a data issue. However if you suspect there's something wrong with the display, you can try a few things to verify. First, click on the folder in the left folder tree pane which will cause a refresh and displays the content of that folder. This applies to not only mail but also contacts, calendar and other data types. Secondly, you can use the Shift+F5 shortcut key to force a fresh of the UI, which is equivalent to closing and relaunching the UI window. If the issue goes away after doing so, it's a display issue and you can file a bug accordingly.
The UI does not load at all, or some parts of the UI are left blank, what should I do?
- First, check the log file located at <data>/log/zdesktop.log. If the problem is in the data engine you will see some errors in the log. Secondly, try using a Web browser to display the UI and see if you get the same behavior. Firefox and Chrome are the preferred choices. To use your default browser to display Zimbra Desktop UI, go to the account setup page and click on "open in web browser" link at the bottom.
When checking for errors in the log file, what do I look for?
- An error often generates a Java exception stack which helps pinpoint where it was originated in the code. An exception stack looks something like this:
Code:service.FAILURE at com.zimbra.common.service.ServiceException.FAILURE(ServiceException.java:253) at com.zimbra.cs.datasource.ImapSync.connect(ImapSync.java:147) at com.zimbra.cs.datasource.ImapSync.importData(ImapSync.java:118) at com.zimbra.c s.datasource.DataSourceManager.importData(DataSourceManager.java:154) at com.zimbra.cs.mailbox.LocalMailbox.importData(LocalMailbox.java:327) at com.zimbra.cs.mailbox.LocalMailbox.syncAllLocalDataSources(LocalMailbox.java:300) at com.zimbra.cs.mailbox.LocalMailbox.sync(LocalMailbox.java:357) at com.zimbra.cs.mailbox.LocalMailbox.syncOnTimer(LocalMailbox.java:282) at com.zimbra.cs.mailbox.DesktopMailbox$1.run(DesktopMailbox.java:117) at java.util.TimerThread.mainLoop(Timer.java:512) at java.util.TimerThread.run(Timer.java:462) Caused by: com.zimbra.cs.mailclient.CommandFailedException: LOGIN failed: LOGIN failure. Server Error-Please try again after some time. at com.zimbra.cs.mailclient.imap.ImapRequest.checkStatus(ImapRequest.java:94) at com.zimbra.cs.mailclient.imap.ImapRequest.sendCheckStatus(ImapRequest.java:80) at com.zimbra.cs.mailclient.imap.ImapConnection.sendLogin(ImapConnection.java:118) at com.zimbra.cs.mailclient.MailConnection.login(MailConnection.java:205) at com.zimbra.cs.datasource.ImapSync.connect(ImapSync.java:143) ... 9 more
- When providing information on an error from log file, please include at least a few lines before and after the exception stack to be complete.
What additional information can I collect to debug a UI display issue?
- In the Zimbra Desktop UI window, use Shift+F6 to reveal the status bar on the bottom. Click on the Settings icon at the right end of the status bar and select Tools -> Error Console. Then click "Errors" on the top to filter out non-error information. If there are any errors they will be helpful in debugging your issue.
Feature Comparison with Competing Products
|Cross Platform||Windows, Mac OS, Linux||Windows Only||Windows, Mac OS, Linux and more|
|Support Enterprise Collaboration Server||Zimbra Collaboration Suite||Microsoft Exchange Server||No|
|Identical UI as Enterprise Collaboration Server Web UI||Yes||No||No|
|Integrated Calendar||Yes||Yes||Via Lightning extension, not production quality|
|Corporate Address Book||Yes||Yes||No|
|Documents, Tasks and Briefcase||Yes||Tasks only||No|
|Groupware Sharing and Delegation||Yes||Yes||No|
|Gmail Mail Support||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Google Address Book Support||Yes||No||No|
|Google Calendar Support||Yes||No||No|
|Yahoo! Mail Support||Yes||No||Via WebMail extension, not production quality|
|Yahoo! Address Book Support||Yes||No||No|
|Yahoo! Calendar Support||Yes||No||No|
|Cross-account Message View||Yes||No||No|
|Cross-account Calendar View||Yes||No||No|
|Cross-account Address Book||Yes||No||No|
|Email Address Auto Complete||Yes||Yes||Only previously mailed contacts|
|Drag and Drop from Desktop||Yes||No||No|
|Support Tagging All Data Types||Yes||No||No|
|Conversation View Across Folders||Yes||No||No|
|Usable When Offline||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Seamless Online/Offline Transition||Yes||Yes||No|
|Access All Data Offline||Yes||Does not download all data by default||Does not download all data by default|
|Manage Multi-GB Mailboxes||Yes||Slow||Slow|
|Search across Multi-GB Data||Index based, fast||Limited and slow||Limited and slow|
|New Mail Notification||Yes||Limited||Limited|
|Themes and Colors||Yes||No||Yes|